LAKELAND, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang is the favorite to land the Nationals' vacant No. 5 starting job, and manager Davey Johnson stayed back in Viera, Fla., to watch him in Saturday's split-squad against the Mets.
And so, at Joker Marchant Stadium, left-hander John Lannan didn't have the manager's eyes upon him as he made his second spring start. But with trade rumors persistently surrounding him at this stage, Lannan, due to make $5 million this year, has to know he's probably auditioning for more than just his own club.
As far as the results of this particular audition, they were mixed. Lannan worked two innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He was pleased to catch Prince Fielder looking at strike three with a man on and one out in the first, and not as pleased to serve up a solo shot to Brandon Inge and an RBI single to Brennan Boesch.
"With two strikes, I need to expand the zone a bit," Lannan said. "With two strikes, I kind of left the ball pretty fat, so they could put it in play. There's always something to work on."
Lannan had his work cut out for him on this day, given that the Tigers had starters Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Fielder, Delmon Young, Boesch, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila all in the lineup.
"I think that's pretty close to what [the Tigers] are going to have out there Opening Day," Lannan said. "I haven't faced those guys in a while, but it was good to face those type of guys and know their tendencies. You'd rather face the best."